'The Natural' Director Barry Levinson Swinging at Hank Aaron Biopic
Barry Levinson's 1984 film The Natural is widely regarded as one of the best sports movies of all time, and it might actually be the best baseball movie ever made. (Calm down, The Sandlot enthusiasts!) It's safe to say Levinson knows how to handle the genre, and like so many underdog sports heroes, it looks like the director is returning to the diamond for one more game. Variety reports Levinson is taking on a still-untitled biopic of baseball icon Hank Aaron, the man who bested The Sultan of Swat, Babe Ruth's, home run record back in 1974 and held the title until 2007, when the steroid-infused Barry Bonds snapped the streak. More below!
Based on Howard Bryant's book The Last Hero: The Story of Hank Aaron, the film will follow the famous right fielder's chase to beat Ruth's record during the 1972-1974 seasons. Adam Mazer, who worked with Levinson on the critically-acclaimed Jack Kevorkian story You Don't Know Jack, will write the script. No studio has jumped on board to distribute yet, but I'm guessing that this year's Opening Day of baseball season taking place in Japan means that the sport is taking on an increasing international audience, so perhaps a studio - which, these days, must be conscious of how much money they can make worldwide and not just domestically - will roll the dice on that increased popularity. No cast has been announced yet, so who they end up choosing for the role could make or break this film in the eyes of distributors, but I'll toss my suggestion into the ring. How about Ghostbusters star Ernie Hudson as Aaron? Thoughts?